I embrace Ron Paul, particularly because I agree with his views on the United States’ place in the world and the limits he would impose on our foreign involvements.
The topic du jour is Syria.
It all started with a small nonviolent protest that was met with brutal repression and grew into a national rebellion.
The Western powers and their Arab allies were still smelling the roses of the “Arab Spring,” and they quickly armed, financed and directed the insurgents.
As in Libya, the insurgency was led by militant Islamists.
At first, France played a leading role while the United States claimed to be providing nonmilitary aid to the insurgency.
Never mind that whatever the means available to the insurgents, if the United States was providing nonmilitary aid, that would necessarily free up resources for military purchases.
Our government was somewhat less than candid on this point.
In the June 17 issue of “Texas Straight Talk,” Paul addressed the Obama administration’s decision to arm the rebels.
Paul said that the process used by the Obama administration was taken straight from the Bush administration’s playbook that led the United States to attack Iraq.
In a nutshell, the facts and intelligence are being manipulated to support policies that have already been agreed to but not yet been made public.
In fact, the language is identical.
Both Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad are said to “have used chemical weapons on their own people,” as if their use against other people might have been excusable but not on their own.
As Paul said, why should the death of 100 or so Syrians through chemical means matter more than the deaths of 99,900 other Syrians from more conventional weaponry? Dead is dead.
No one asks where did the West get the authority to decide that the Assad regime needs to be replaced?
The legitimacy of Assad as head of state of Syria is very much greater that of Hamid Karzai as head of state in Afghanistan.
Yet we lavish suitcases full of cash on Karzai but give money to enemies of Assad’s, even if many of those have pledged their loyalty to al-Qaida. Some of the same groups the Obama administration wants to support have recently been accused of targeting Christian villages.
While the West pretends to deplore the death of 100,000 or so Syrians, the fact remains that but for the military and economic assistance given to rebels by the West, the uprising would have been quelled long ago and tens of thousands of deaths could have been avoided.
Of course, the Assad regime would remain in power.
The Assad regime has been in power for more than 40 years and has the support of the military, intelligence and security services, the Alawai, most Christians and much of the middle and upper classes.
Why then has Syria become such a pariah?
The Assad regime was long a supporter of U.S. interests in the Middle East but refused to join the U.S.-led alliance against Iran.
In fact, Iran and Syria are close allies and by going after the Assad regime, the United States gets a two-fer.
We attack Iran’s closest ally, and we are also poking the Russians in the eye.
Why we think we gain anything by annoying Russians is something I don’t quite understand either.
In the process tens of thousands of Syrians die, and we just keep deploring their deaths while we enable the conflict that keeps killing.
At a time when White House visits are cancelled for lack of money and military bases have no fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Obama administration is finding hundreds of millions of dollars to give to groups of Islamists that have links to al-Qaida.
Call me crazy if you will, but I don’t see it.
There is perhaps a lesson from history to guide our policy toward Syria.
We had our own civil war in the 1860s.
Most people would agree that things turned out quite well for the United States, without there being an intervention from the imperial powers of the day.
Syrians in no way intervened in our civil war. I believe that we should reciprocate and stay out of their conflict as it is none of our business.
Contributing columnist Marc Landry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.